They sit on the floor for what seems like hours. Bo’s knees grow numb as Kenzi’s limp form remains sprawled, unmoving, across her lap. Bo cries herself out and then pulls herself together, knowing that her job right now is not mourner. It is caretaker. Hale would want her to be okay, she tells herself. Do this for him, and do this for her.
“C’mon, sweetie,” she tries to rouse Kenzi. “Kenz, babe, we’ve gotta get you up.”
“I’m not leaving him,” is the faint reply.
“Kenzi,” Bo says softly.
“He’s dead, Hale is dead, it’s my fault, and I am not going to leave him alone!” She is yelling again, which Bo tries to take as a good sign. Anger is one step closer to acceptance, right?
“Shh, Kenz,” Bo soothes, stroking her cheek. “You’re covered in blood – we need to get you cleaned up and put to bed. You’ll feel better in the morning.”
That is the absolute wrong thing to say. “How would you know?” Kenzi spits, like a feral cat. “You’re not the one who kills everyone you love!”
Bo exhales sharply, because she was that girl. And Kenzi, even through her grief-stricken haze, seems to recognize her mistake. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” she babbles, clutching Bo’s arms again. Bo’s elbows are ringed in blood – they both need to bathe.
“It’s okay,” Bo promises, brushing her fingers through one of Kenzi’s pigtails. “I know you didn’t, it’s okay.”
When Kenzi calms down, Bo tries a different tactic. “Kenz, honey, I’m gonna call Trick and get some help in here – can you manage a shower on your own?”
“I’m not leaving him, Bo!” Kenzi says forcefully. “I can’t leave him!”
“Tell you what,” Bo says. She feels much like she’s trying to placate a toddler, but this is her sister. Bo would capture the moon if she thought it would help Kenzi at all. “Why don’t you sit with Hale while I go run you a hot bath, and then when I get back, you and I can switch places. Okay? That way, he doesn’t have to be alone.”
The watery “okay” is music to Bo’s ears, and she drops a kiss on the top of Kenzi’s head before heading up to the bathroom. The motions are easy – she’s done this a million times (there’s virtually nothing a bubble bath and a glass of wine can’t cure). She stops up the tub, turns the hot tap three-quarters of the way and the cold tap one-quarter, squirts a double shot of Mr. Bubbles under the faucet, and lays out a fluffy towel for Kenzi when she’s done.
Kenzi is talking to Hale when Bo goes back downstairs, and she waits on the steps to listen in. Bo feels a little guilty, but not really.
“Do you think we would live in a big house or a little one? I think maybe a nice, medium-sized one, because you don’t like things too extravagant and I like things nice and gaudy,” Kenzi says with a hiccuppy laugh. “And your dad would’ve stepped down as Head of Clan Zamora, and I would be a Baroness. The first human Baroness, what a trip,” Kenzi shakes her head. “Our kids wouldn’t have any Fae powers, but that’s okay because they would be super awesome anyway. I mean, they’d have to be, with the Siren to stop them all as their dad, and the SuperKenz as their mom. Not to mention Aunt Bo, and Great-Grandpa Trick, and Uncle Dyson, and Tammers – cousin Tammers? Well, anyway, they would have the coolest fam-bam ever. Unlike you and me, right?”
Kenzi strokes his stubbly chin, and it’s all Bo can do to act natural when she walks back into the room. What she wants to do is hold Kenzi in her arms forever, with maybe a nugget of time set aside for the hunting-down and flaying of Massimo. Seeing Kenzi upset has always broken Bo’s heart, but Bo has never seen her this upset.
“Your bath awaits, my lady,” Bo says, proud of herself when her voice only wobbles a teeny bit.
“Do I have to?” Kenzi turns to her, blue eyes liquid and puppy-like.
“I’ll be right here with him, I promise,” Bo says, sitting down beside Hale. “I won’t let him out of my sight.”
Kenzi nods slowly and bends down to press a kiss to Hale’s forehead. “Love you, too,” she whispers.
When Kenzi is up the stairs, Bo feels her walls begin to crumble. “Dammit, Hale,” she whispers, shoving his shoulder lightly. She knows that she and Kenzi are as far from out of the woods as they can be, and it is destroying her to know that there is nothing she can do to fix this hurt.
Bo bites her lip. The blood on her arms is drying, and she feels stiff and gross. Grabbing Hale’s chin in one hand, Bo leans over and tries to breathe. “C’mon, Hale,” she gasps, forcing as much chi from her body as she can. The pink-orange wisps go up his nose and into his mouth, but there’s still no pulse, no life. “Come on!”
Bo collapses, coughing, on top of him. Even with Kenzi’s help, there’s not near enough chi to save Hale. Bo feels like a failure. The one thing her best friend ever asked of her, and she couldn’t deliver.
Then she thinks of something. What about Dyson? Hale was his partner, his best friend – he needs to know! She pulls out her phone and presses his contact, but for some reason it’s going straight to voicemail.
“Dyson, where the hell are you?” Bo growls. She dials again, and again, and again, until a hoarse voice answers with a,
“Dyson, you need to come over here, now,” Bo says, her words slipping and slurring together in her agitation.
“I’m kind of in the middle of something, Bo,” Dyson says tersely.
“Now, Dyson! It’s Hale!”
“Hale?” His voice grows quiet, and he’s no longer angry. “What about Hale?”
“I can’t—” Bo struggles with what to say. It’s cruel, telling him over the phone. But is it less cruel than not telling him, and letting him walk into this mess blind? “It’s bad, really bad. I just…need you to come.”
“I’m on my way,” he answers, and hangs up.
The next call is to Trick, who sounds vaguely drunk when he picks up. He sobers immediately at the tone of Bo’s voice, and also promises to come right away. The minutes tick by, and Bo pats Hale’s shoulder idly.
“They’ll be here soon,” she tells him. “Don’t worry.”
When there’s a knock on the door, Bo stands up. She promised Kenzi she wouldn’t leave his side, but it’s only for a minute and Kenzi’s upstairs. She can’t let them come in here like she did and see this mess themselves.
“Bo, what is it?” Dyson’s face is drawn, like he knows what to expect. Bo guesses he does, because his nostrils flare. She knows he smells Hale’s blood on her.
“He’s gone, Dyson,” Bo says weakly, falling against the studs by the door. “Hale, he’s…he was protecting Kenzi, and he…”
“No,” Dyson growls. He pushes past Bo into the house, stops where the dropped bags are. Just like Bo, his mouth falls open, and he lets out a keening howl.
He’s on his knees for a while before Trick makes it. Bo doesn’t even have to say anything. Trick hugs her, and Bo lets herself break down.
“It’s not fair, Trick,” she cries into her grandfather’s shoulder. “It’s not fair!”
“Hush, my darling girl,” Trick quiets her. “Hush now, it will turn out.”
Bo lets Trick comfort her until she realizes that it’s been nearly an hour and Kenzi hasn’t come back down. She pulls away from Trick and excuses herself to the upstairs.
“Kenzi?” Bo says, knocking on the doorframe. “How are you doing in there, Kenz?” There’s no answer, and Bo pokes her head in. Kenzi is curled up in the tub, knees to her chest, and all the bubbles gone. Her eyes stare blankly ahead, and she barely flinches when Bo comes over to her. “Kenz, you’re freezing,” Bo murmurs. “And your fingers are all pruned up. We’ve gotta get you out of here.”
Kenzi allows Bo to treat her like a doll. Bo dries Kenzi off like a helpless child, wincing at the developing bruises on Kenzi’s stomach. She traces them lightly with her finger before wrapping Kenzi tightly in the towel, and they go upstairs to find her some new pajamas. Bo helps Kenzi step into her underwear, and as Bo turns to find her a shirt, Kenzi grabs Hale’s off her bed.
“Smells like him,” she mutters.
“Do you wanna wear that instead?” Bo asks, ready to put the big sweatshirt she found back in the drawer.
Kenzi shakes her head, though. “No. Then it’ll smell like me. Needs to smell like him.”
“Okay,” Bo agrees, as if that makes any sense. She just gets Kenzi to lift up her arms, and Bo feeds her hands through the sleeves. It’s not that Bo minds doing this – she would do anything for Kenzi – but it’s tragic. Kenzi has seen too much, felt too much already in her short life. She doesn’t deserve this.
When Kenzi is completely dressed, Bo tries to lead her downstairs.
“Dyson’s down there,” Kenzi says weakly.
Bo waits for more, but it doesn’t come. “Yeah?” Bo asks.
“I can’t see him,” Kenzi whimpers, bottom lip trembling. “He hates me.”
“Dyson loves you,” Bo says, utterly confused. “He adores you!”
“Not after this, after…what I’ve done. I would never forgive him if he killed you,” she responds.
“Kenzi,” Bo says tenderly. She’s almost amazed that Kenzi can still find pieces of her heart to shatter. “You did not kill Hale! Massimo killed Hale!”
“Because I gave him the stupid Twig of Zamora!” Kenzi shouts. “I was selfish, I was dumb! Hale gave that to me, to protect me, and I just gave it away like it was nothing! Like it meant nothing to me!”
“I know Hale didn’t see it that way,” Bo says. “He loved you, Kenzi, more than the world. He would’ve done anything for you.”
“I know, I know,” Kenzi says, slamming her fist on the bedframe. “And look how I repaid him. God, I am terrible. I am a terrible person!”
“You are not terrible, Kenzi,” Bo says emphatically. Kenzi’s nails are digging into her arms, like she’s trying to hurt herself. Bo peels her fingers back and holds Kenzi’s hands in her own. “You are…beautiful, and you are smart, and you are kind, and you are loyal. You have never once given up on me or any of the people you love. Kenzi, you inspire me. Every day. You may be a human in a Fae world, but you hold your own and then some. You are everything to me.”
Kenzi just nods, the fight draining out of her, and Bo wraps an arm around her shoulder. “C’mon, sweetie,” Bo coaxes. “Let’s get you fed, and then we can sleep.”
The two walk downstairs, but Kenzi freezes in the doorway. Dyson is sitting next to Hale, his eyes full of unshed tears. Bo tries to pull Kenzi into the room, but Trick stops her. “Let’s give them some time,” he says quietly. He takes Bo into the kitchen, and they start preparing some easy food. Bo keeps one eye and one ear tuned to the proceedings in the other room, though.
There are only the small creaks of the floorboards as Kenzi slowly makes her way into the room. She stops a few feet from Dyson, fidgeting with the too-long sleeves of her sweatshirt. In her pigtails and oversized clothing, not to mention her makeup-free face, Bo thinks she looks like a little girl. Bo frowns as she realizes that Kenzi basically is a little girl.
Dyson doesn’t move for the longest time, and Bo wants to go out there and physically shake him, because she can feel Kenzi’s nerves and fear growing by the second. But suddenly, he’s on his feet, drawing himself up to his full height. Because Kenzi is usually in heels, Bo has never noticed the full dichotomy of their appearances. Dyson is about a foot taller, and twice as bulky – Kenzi might weigh about a hundred pounds soaking wet. Bo can see that Kenzi is trembling, but before she can get Dyson away from her, he pulls her to him in a fierce hug.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Kenzi is chanting again.
“It’s okay, Kenzi,” Dyson promises. “It’s okay.”
Bo watches them for a moment, feeling relief that they can find some comfort in each other. The sandwiches are made, but Bo hesitates breaking up Kenzi and Dyson. Everything is fragile right now, and Bo feels like even a breath in the wrong direction could send their world toppling to the ground. But Kenzi’s stomach growls, and Dyson’s alpha male instincts kick in. He brings her over to the kitchen, and helps Bo coax some food into Kenzi’s stomach.
“You’ve gotta eat, Kenz,” Bo says desperately, her own sandwich demolished over twenty minutes ago.
“Kenzi, c’mon,” Dyson rumbles gently. “Eat up.”
“I’m not hungry,” Kenzi says. “Please, I just want—”
Bo listens intently. She is waiting for Kenzi to ask for anything – Bo would give up everything to get Kenzi what she wants.
“I just want Hale,” Kenzi wails, her face crumpling. Her grief is palpable, rolling off her in waves. Tears come to Bo’s eyes and she rushes to Kenzi, unable to stand by as her best friend falls apart.
“I know, sweetie, I know you do,” Bo murmurs. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
There’s a lot of that going around.
“But—” Kenzi is more lucid, but Bo has learned to become wary of that. “Trick and Dyson are here now, they can help! You can take all our chi, Bo, you can bring him back!”
“Kenzi,” Bo says gently. It’s been hours. Hale is getting cold. It will never work.
“Dammit, Bo, what if it were me?” Kenzi screams. “What if it were Lauren, or Dyson, or Trick? Would you just let them die? Would you let me die?”
Bo begins to sob. “Of course not, Kenzi,” she cries, trying to remain calm.
“Then do it!” Kenzi’s voice is shrill and insistent. Bo looks helplessly at the two men in the room before trying to summon the dark feeling she’s had when she’s sucked multiple people at once. She channels her anger and frustration and despair into the fuzzy place in the pit of her stomach that lights up when she feeds. She feels the tendrils of power curl up around her ribcage and into her chest, and when she inhales, she sees three streams of blue come into her mouth.
Trick and Dyson stumble, but Kenzi collapses.
“I’ve got her, Bo,” Dyson yells when Bo runs to Kenzi. “You take Hale, I’ve got her!”
Once more, Bo pulls down on Hale’s chin and tries to force the chi down his throat. Only this time, instead of the sunset-colored fumes snaking into Hale’s body, they recede back into Bo. It’s too late. Hale is gone for good.
“No,” Bo whimpers, stumbling forward as her adrenaline fades. Then she spots Kenzi, still unconscious on the ground, and she knows what she has to do. “Kenzi!” Bo pushes Dyson out of the way, the only thing mattering whether or not her sister is okay. Bo knew that draining Kenzi twice in one night was a bad idea, but she did it anyway because Kenzi asked. As Kenzi sputters and coughs, Bo’s sharp terror fades to a dull concern.
“Hale?” Kenzi asks hopefully. A tear slips down Bo’s cheek as she shakes her head.
“I’m so sorry, Kenzi,” she says. “I was too late.”
“No!” Kenzi cries. She tries to get up, but Dyson and Bo hold her down so she can’t hurt herself. “No, no, no, no, no!” They try to help her to a sitting position, but Kenzi starts flapping her arms again as she wails. “You should’ve let me die!” she screams at Bo, cheeks flushed with rage and anguish. “I wanted to die, I want to be with him! I want to die!”
“You don’t mean that,” Bo gasps, holding Kenzi tight to her. “It feels like you do, but you don’t.”
“You should’ve let me die,” Kenzi whimpers.
“I could never do that, Kenzi,” Bo sobs, her voice cracking. “I could never let you go. I love you.”
“I love him!”
“I know,” Bo says. She knows that she’s not really making this better, but she’s not in a position to be much comfort when she just wants to break down herself.
Bo holds Kenzi as she cries, wishing there was an easier way to do this than watch Kenzi suffer. But one of the few constants between humanity and the Fae is grief. There’s no hurrying it. As Kenzi winds down for what seems like the millionth time that night, Trick stoops to whisper in Bo’s ear.
“Have her say goodbye to him,” Trick says gently. “Dyson and I are going to take him to the morgue.”
Bo logically knows that it’s the right thing to do, but she worries about Kenzi’s reaction. “Kenzi, honey?” Bo asks, stroking her bangs off her sweaty forehead. “Dyson and Trick are gonna take Hale with them, okay? We’ll see him soon, I promise, they just need to get him out of here.”
Kenzi takes the news better than expected. “Okay,” she says dully. She slips out of Bo’s embrace and leans over Hale. “I love you, stupid Siren,” she murmurs, barely loud enough to comprehend. She presses another kiss to his forehead, and one to his cool lips. Her thumb swipes the apple of his cheek, and she pulls back.
“Okay,” she repeats. Dyson hoists Hale into his arms, and Trick follows him out the door after a parting hug with Bo and Kenzi.
“I’ll call you tomorrow,” he says to Bo, “once I talk with Sturgis. We can set up a time to meet and discuss…arrangements.”
Bo hadn’t even thought of that. Of course, they would need to talk to Hale’s father – and maybe his sister – in planning Hale’s funeral and organizing his affairs. Bo bites her lip. It is petty, perhaps, to hold onto grudges in a case like this, but Bo still stings from the way Sturgis and Val treated Kenzi in front of her. If they try in any way to prevent Kenzi from getting the closure she needs, so help them…
“Bo?” Trick asks, drawing Bo out of her thoughts.
“Okay,” she says quietly. “I’ll expect your call in the morning.”
Trick’s smile is sad and brief, and he pats Bo’s cheek. “Try to get some rest,” he suggests. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
And then, it is just Bo and Kenzi. Bo is still caked in blood, and Kenzi is nearly comatose. “C’mon, Kenz,” Bo directs. Kenzi stands, and Bo takes her upstairs. Kenzi waits on the floor by the tub as Bo quickly scrubs down and changes into pajamas. Then Bo brings Kenzi into her bedroom, folding back the blankets on the big bed so Kenzi can crawl in.
Sleeping together was not discussed, it was a given. Bo figures that tonight, she needs Kenzi as much as Kenzi needs Bo.
“Hale’s shirt,” Kenzi says faintly, her eyes already fluttering shut. Bo doesn’t know how good of an idea this is, but runs upstairs to get the item off Kenzi’s bed anyway.
When Bo gets back, Kenzi is snoring, and Bo tucks the shirt into bed beside her. Then she turns off the lamps and gets in herself, positioning Kenzi’s head so that she can hear Bo’s heartbeat.
Idly, Bo lets her fingers thread through Kenzi’s hair. She never would’ve thought, four years ago, that she could ever take this much comfort in someone. But Kenzi is Bo’s everything. It’s a love that transcends romance. They are family. And there are many more hurdles ahead, but Bo will be right where her heart tells her she belongs.
“By your side,” she whispers, tears falling thick and fast from her eyes. She can’t tell if she’s crying because of Hale, because of Kenzi, because she’s exhausted, or a combination of all three. She brushes a strand of hair off Kenzi’s cheek, and presses a kiss there. “I will never let you go, sweet girl.”
Kenzi’s hand clenches the covers, and the purple-red gem on her engagement ring glints in the moonlight. “Love…you…” she murmurs unconsciously.
Bo wasn’t lying when she said that Kenzi was her heart. She doesn’t know who Kenzi's love is directed at, but she feels the same. “Love you too, Kenz. I love you too.”